Oxford buys land for new high school

OXFORD – The new Oxford High School will be built east of state Highway 7 as part of The Commons, a planned urban development begun several years ago.
Oxford School District’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to buy 65 acres in extreme northeast Oxford from Thomas and Murray Avent at a price of $2,567,500. The state Department of Education must approve the location.
The agreement also includes a 10-acre donation from the Avents and their developer, Kenny Farrell.
The school district will additionally pay $913,500 to provide underground utilities to the site and to extend Sisk Avenue 1,500 feet eastward as a five-lane boulevard complete with curbing, gutters, sidewalks and bicycle paths. Acquisition and access costs are expected to total $3,481,000.
The new $31 million school will be designed to accommodate 1,100 students. Officials anticipate an aggressive schedule that will provide a January 2013 opening date.
The project is part of a 10-year, $54 million capital improvements campaign that also will include renovations and expansions at existing campuses. Last month, voters approved a $30 million bond issue to anchor the construction funding.
School board members and a consulting architect gave serious consideration to five properties, said Superintendent Kim Stasny.
“After studying all aspects of the various properties, we believe this is our best option,” said board President Dr. Bela J. “Buddy” Chain Jr.
Stasny noted the expected growth as current high school classes of about 200 students give way to elementary- and middle-school classes that already are nearing 300 students each.
“We are encouraged about the future of Oxford School District and believe that the passage of the bond and the pending purchase of this property will do nothing but strengthen our education system for the children who live here,” she said.

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal